All video game developers live in the shadow of a release date that draws ever closer. This is often made worse by outside circumstances that force a game to be released before it is ready, such as being planned to launch alongside a new console or being rushed out of the door in order to make it onto the shelves in time for the holiday season.
The tight development schedule of a video game will often mean that planned features will need to be cut so that other parts of the game can be focused on. These unused elements usually cannot be removed for risk of causing glitches, so they are sealed off and made unavailable to the player.
It’s not unusual for enemies and stages to be found in an unfinished state within the code of a game, as these are often expendable.
It’s less common for playable characters and important NPCs to be removed, as they are some of the first things designed for a video game and they can’t be taken out so easily.
Hackers have searched through the code of numerous video games and unearthed characters who were once thought to be buried. There are also awesome characters who came very close to making it into a video game, yet they had to be scrapped at the last second.
We are here today to discover which amazing video game characters should never have been left on the cutting room floor – from the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII going on a journey to find the most powerful sword in the world to the Nintendo heroes who almost fought alongside the Avengers.
Here are the 20 Cut Video Game Characters Better Than What We Got!
20 Cloud Strife In Soul Calibur II
Soul Calibur was one of the most highly acclaimed video games of its time, with it being only the second game to ever receive a perfect score in Weekly Famitsu magazine.
The problem with Soul Calibur was that it was trapped on the Dreamcast, which was a system that was doomed for failure.
As such, the sequel was moved to the other consoles of the day and each version was given its own unique character, with Spawn appearing in the Xbox version, Link from The Legend of Zelda series appearing in the GameCube version and Heihachi from the Tekken series appearing in the PlayStation 2 version.
Heihachi wasn’t the first choice for the PlayStation representative in Soul Calibur II, as the developers almost managed to land Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII for the game.
This would have been a huge get for Soul Calibur II, but the deal fell through at the last minute and a character who doesn’t actually use any weapons was chosen for the game.
19 Doctor Octopus In Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
The creators of the Marvel vs. Capcom games have one of the biggest multimedia franchises in the world to choose from, as well as characters from a wide selection of the best video games of all time.
A lot of time and energy goes into creating the roster of a Marvel vs. Capcom game, with many famous characters needing to be dropped due to being too similar to other established fighters, or for being considered too obscure to appeal to a mass audience.
According to Ryoto Niitsuma (the creator of Marvel vs. Capcom 3), the character who made it the farthest in development before being cut was Doctor Octopus, as he still has some elements hidden within the files of the game.
It’s unknown why he didn’t make it into the final version of the game or Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
18 Link In Golden Sun: The Lost Age
The first two Golden Sun games were some of the best titles released for the Game Boy Advance. The Golden Sun games combined the puzzle-filled dungeons of The Legend of Zelda series with a JRPG battle system.
It seems that the developers of Golden Sun: The Lost Age wanted to give a shout out to the series that served as its inspiration, as a full set of character sprites for Link exists within the files of the game.
It’s possible to replace Felix with these sprites by using a cheating device, which means that you can (unofficially) play through the game as Link.
No official reason has ever been given for Link’s canceled cameo, though it’s possible that the developers had never intended for Link to be playable, or they were refused the chance to use him by Nintendo.
17 Sake The Salmon In Tekken 3
It’s not unheard of for fighting games to have joke characters that are intentionally weaker than the other members of the cast, with Dan Hibiki from the Street Fighter series being a prime example.
The arcade version of Tekken 3 was planned to have a joke character of its own, but it was cut due to fears of turning away paying customers.
It was originally planned for Kuma to fight while wielding a giant salmon. This salmon was planned to be a playable character called Sake and it still has some data within the files of the game.
Sake’s entire playstyle was going to involve flopping around on the ground, like a Tekken version of Magikarp.
Sake was scrapped due to the developers being worried that players might be annoyed if they select Sake without knowing his true nature and wasting their money on a useless character.
16 Dr. Mario, Dixie Kong, Mewtwo, Roy, Plusle & Minun, & Toon Shiek/Zelda In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Masahiro Sakurai is currently spoiling a generation of gamers with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch, which will contain every character who has ever appeared in the series.
There have been a lot of rumors over the years about characters who were planned to appear in the Super Smash Bros. series but never made it into the game.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl has information buried in the files of its code that reveals what characters almost made it into the game.
Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, and Roy were planned to appear in the game after debuting in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but they were cut.
They would later appear as DLC characters in Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U.
The other cut characters include Dixie Kong, Toon Zelda/Sheik, and a character named “Pra_Mai” who is believed to be a combination of Plusle and Minun from the Pokémon series.
15 Turok The Dinosaur Hunter In WWF War Zone
It’s common for characters to be cut from WWE video games at the last minute, due to the fact that professional wrestlers can be a temperamental bunch and have a tendency to walk out of the company at a moment’s notice.
One of the most unusual characters cut from a WWE game had nothing to do with wrestling, as Turok the Dinosaur Hunter was planned to be playable in WWF War Zone.
WWF War Zone was developed by Iguana Entertainment, who also made the Turok games, so his inclusion was likely meant as an easter egg that was either never finished or was removed at the request of the WWF.
You can still play as Turok with the aid of a cheating device and he will use The Rock’s moves in battle.
14 Jeff & Majido In Virtua Fighter
Virtua Fighter is one of the most influential video games of all time, to the point where everything about it was immediately copied and improved upon, to the point where it stopped being special and much of its influence was downplayed compared to games like Tekken.
The original Virtua Fighter title was almost even more awesome, as there are several unused characters found within the files of the game.
The first unused character is a soldier named Jeff, whose hat and shades can actually be knocked off during a fight. The second unused character is Mejido, who would appear in later games under the name of Siba.
Mejido is a fighter from Saudi Arabia, who added a scimitar to his arsenal in his later appearances.
Jeff and Siba don’t have complete movesets, but they can still be played with the help of cheat codes in emulated versions of Virtua Fighter.
13 Melissa Croft In Tomb Raider
Lara Croft is one of the most iconic characters in video game history, to the point that she overshadowed her own series and became a multimedia phenomenon.
Lara is so beloved that each Tomb Raider game focuses solely on her adventures. This was originally going to change with Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition, as Lara Croft’s younger cousin was going to become a playable character.
Melissa Croft was intended to Lara’s tearaway cousin who would be playable as part of a new co-op mode, which would have acted in a similar manner to Resident Evil 5, with both characters needing to share their supplies in order to survive.
Once you finished the single-player campaign, you were also going to be able to play through it again as Melissa.
12 Mel In Portal 2
Portal 2 was originally going to feature a brand new protagonist, who was named Mel and looked like a blonde version of Chell from the original Portal.
A lot of the appeal of the original Portal came from being berated by GLaDOS while you attempted to complete each task.
The fact that you were playing as a new character in Portal 2 meant that a lot of the old dynamic was lost, which led to Chell being reinstated as the main character.
Mel was planned to appear alongside Chell in the co-op missions, but they were both replaced with robots, as it was easier to explain why robots could keep being revived whenever they were destroyed while attempting to complete a task.
11 Tetris Block & Windows Logo In Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker has an item called the Mystery Mushroom, which allows you to totally change your appearance to that of another character, along with the sound effects that they make.
There is information about two very interesting Mystery Mushroom characters hidden within the files of Super Mario Maker that were never finished.
It was once going to be possible for you to be able to play as a Tetris block in Super Mario Maker, which makes some sense, considering how closely tied the original Tetris was to the Game Boy.
The more unusual cut character in Super Mario Maker is a playable version of the Windows logo, which likely never would have made it into the game, as it is owned by Microsoft.
It might seem like a strange idea to be able to play as a Tetris block or the Windows logo in Super Mario Maker, but you can play as the Wii Fit Balance Board in the retail version of the game, so it wasn’t such a crazy idea.
10 Betsy The Brahmin In Fallout: New Vegas
One of the most annoying aspects of the Fallout games is the strict limit you have on the amount of gear you can carry with you at all times, which is especially frustrating for characters with low physical stats.
Fallout: New Vegas was going to offer succor to the players of weak characters by offering you the chance to hire Betsy the Brahmin as a companion.
Betsy isn’t much use in a fight and can’t take many hits, but she does have the incredible trait of being able to lug around six-hundred pounds of gear at all times.
Betsy was planned to be part of a quest where she would steal your gear and you would have to go and reclaim it, but this entire storyline is unfinished.
9 Darkel In Grand Theft Auto III
The Grand Theft Auto series has been the source of numerous myths and urban legends over the years, which is something that the developers have played up by teasing the fans with hints concerning the likes of Bigfoot and UFOs.
One of the urban legends surrounding Grand Theft Auto III involved a cut character named Darkel, who was going to give you missions.
The rumor was that Darkel was a criminal and that his entire quest line was cut after the 9/11 attacks.
The people at Rockstar have since quelled these rumors and clarified that Darkel was meant to be a leader of a group of homeless people.
The reason he was cut was due to not fitting in with the rest of the game and it had nothing to do with any controversial content, as the series has never shied away from controversy.
8 Sonic & Tails In Fighting Vipers
Lara Croft is often considered to be the first video game character who was promoted based on her physical attractiveness, but that sort of thing had been going on for years in lesser-known titles.
Fighting Vipers was a 3D fighting game that heavily promoted the fact that you could destroy your opponent’s clothes during battle, with Candy (a sixteen-year-old student) featuring heavily in the same advertisements.
It seems that one of the developers grew weary of adding human characters to Fighting Vipers, as Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails can be found buried in the code of the game.
Sonic and Tails share the same moves, though only Sonic has a menu portrait.
7 Annihilus & Blastaar In LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
The Fantastic Four have a huge rogues gallery that is composed of some of the best villains that Marvel has to offer, but they are always overshadowed by Dr. Doom and Galactus, as these are the characters who are most often used as antagonists whenever the Fantastic Four appear in other forms of media.
When the Fantastic Four traveled to the Negative Zone, they encountered two powerful alien warlords, known as Annihilus and Blastaar.
These fearsome foes were planned to appear as playable characters in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, as incomplete versions of their models can be found hidden within the files of the game.
The Annihilus and Blastaar character models are in an unfinished state, which is surprising when you think of how easy it must be to design a LEGO figure.
6 Anita In Marvel Super Heroes
Capcom has developed a lot of fighting games that starred the characters from Marvel comics. These games would later combine characters from their own franchises, leading to titles like X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom.
Marvel Super Heroes originally only contained Marvel characters, but at least one Capcom character almost appeared in the game.
Anita from the Darkstalkers series can be found in an unfinished state within the code of Marvel Super Heroes.
Her move set involves controlling Donovan Blaine’s sword using magic and summoning Akuma from Street Fighter and Mei-Ling from Darkstalkers to fight alongside her, though all of her attacking animations are incomplete.
5 Fou-Lu & Nina In Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
The Breath of Fire series contains some excellent JRPGs that were spread across the earlier generations of consoles. The series sputtered out with the polarizing Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, only be revived with an awful mobile game in 2016.
There are still many who love the early Breath of Fire titles and they almost received some love in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Fou-Lu is the fan-favorite villain of Breath of Fire IV, who comes with a selection of cool-looking moves and transformations.
Ryota Niitsuma (the producer of Marvel vs. Capcom 3) has revealed that Fou-Lu almost made it into the game, as he is very popular in Japan, but they were worried that he wasn’t familiar enough to the international audience.
Nina from the original Breath of Fire was also one of the last characters cut from the roster. Her ultimate move would have involved summoning all of the other characters named Nina from the series. It’s unknown why she was cut.
4 Matt The Radar Technician In LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Saturday Night Live once did a sketch that combined Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens with Undercover Boss.
In this sketch, Kylo Ren takes on the guise of “Matt the Radar Technician” in order to learn more about the crew of the Starkiller Base.
The Star Wars/Undercover Boss sketch was very popular and has earned almost thirty-five million views on YouTube.
It’s likely due to this popularity that a character model for Matt the Radar Technician can be found inside of the files of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The developers of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens really wanted to include Matt the Radar Technician in the game, but legal issues (most likely stemming from Saturday Night Live) prevented his inclusion.
3 Michael Myers & The Terminator In Mortal Kombat X
A lot of modern fighting games have included new characters as paid DLC. The problem with this is that the DLC characters can be stronger than the characters in the base game in order to get the players to spend more money.
This is something that has often been accused of Bayonetta and Cloud Strife in Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U.
The Xenomorph in Mortal Kombat X has to often been accused of being a pay-to-win character, as it is the highest character in the competitive tier list.
Mortal Kombat X has several characters from different horror franchises, including Jason from Friday the 13th and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but they were almost joined by two other prominent horror icons.
Michael Myers from Halloween and the original version of the Terminator were planned to appear as DLC characters in Mortal Kombat X.
Michael Myers may have been too similar to Jason, while including the Terminator may have caused likeness rights issues with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
2 The Hosts Of The Today Show In LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
“General Al Roker, you are a bold one.”
The Star Wars franchise is full of alien characters of all description, so it wouldn’t be surprising if some bizarre lifeform was found buried within the files of a Star Wars game.
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars has something far more bizarre than aliens and robots hidden in its code and that’s character models for the hosts of the Today Show.
That’s right – you were almost going to be able to fight the forces of General Grievous while playing as either Al Roker, Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, or Meredith Vieria.
The inclusion of the Today Show hosts was likely a joke on behalf of the developers, as it references an episode where Ewoks caused havoc on the program.
1 Link & Samus In Marvel Ultimate Alliance
The movie rights to the Marvel characters have been tangled up for years, which eventually crept into the video games, leading to the X-Men being excluded from Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
There was a time when the Avengers and the X-Men could appear in games together (which will hopefully be happening again soon), with both teams fighting alongside each other in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games.
The developers of the Wii version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance wanted to take things further by adding Link from The Legend of Zelda and Samus from the Metroid series as playable characters.
Nintendo refused to sign off on Link and Samus appearing in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which led to them being scrubbed from the game.
This is a tragedy, as we almost had a game where some of the most iconic video game characters of all time fought alongside the greatest superheroes on Earth.
Are there any other video game characters that were cut from games? Let us know in the comments!